How-To:Sunroof drain repair
Username
Do you already have an account?
Forgot your password?
  • Log in or Sign up

    Welcome to SwedeSpeed
    You're currently browsing Swedespeed as a guest. Please sign up or sign in and take part in the conversation with other Volvo owners and enthusiasts. With more 2 million posts our community is one of the most active groups of Volvo owners in the world. Take a moment to sign up and enjoy all of the features our forums have to offer.
    Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
    Results 1 to 35 of 82
    1. #1

      How-To:Sunroof drain repair

      Greetings,

      My wife and I recently purchased a CPO'd 2004 XC90 for her to drive to work. Up until the past couple weeks the vehicle has been trouble free. However, the morning after a particularly strong thunderstorm we noticed water in the drivers side footwell. A search of Swedespeed turned up several threads on the topic and the culprit seemed to be either a clogged line or elbow.

      We called our local dealer and scheduled an appointment. Towards the end of the conversation the service advisor stated that it might not be covered under warranty and that it could "get expensive". This of course made me angry so I decided to tackle the job myself. After completing the job I decided to make a quick "how-to" as I hadn't found specific instructions on here. If this is a double post please feel free to delete.

      Overview:

      As water collects on the lip surrounding the sunroof it evacuates itself through two small drains, one on the front portion of the drivers side and one on the front portion of the passenger side. These drains are routed through either a-pillar via a rubber hose attached to a 90 degree elbow exiting the vehicle in the approximate location of the side view mirrors. From there it drains straight down exiting near the front mudflaps.

      Testing procedure:

      In order to ensure the drain was clogged I opened the sunroof and poured a small amount of water in the vicinity of the drain. The picture below shows its location.

      After pouring, the water failed to drain, indicating a clog at some point. From there I went about removing the a-pillar cover in order to check the drain line/elbow.

      To begin you'll first want to remove the covers for the two 10mm bolts holding the grab handle to the a-pillar. There is little gap to work with and if you're not careful you'll scratch the plastic. A plastic bone tool might work but I went with a razor blade as it was all I had. I would recommend gently prying from the side. As you can see from the pic both covers are connected to the handle via a small piece of plastic.

      After both covers are off you can remove the two 10mm bolts. After removal you'll be looking at this.

      Now you can pull the a-pillar cover off of the vehicle. It is held in place via three plastic clips and should pull off easily. After removal you will be able to see the rubber drain line.

      Once the drain tube was in sight I could see water leaking around the base of the drain tube where it meets the 90 degree elbow pictured below.

      This piece simply pulls out and once it's free you can slide the drain tube out. The elbow by itself is pictured below.

      As you can see from the pic there was a ton of debris stuck inside the elbow.

      I blew compressed air through the elbow which quickly removed the dirt and while off blew air through the drain tube to ensure it was clear(which it was). After cleaning, I reinstalled the elbow and drain tube and poured more water through the drain. At this point the water ran through easily and drained through the bottom of the vehicle in the proper location(pictured below).

      Overall this was very simple and took maybe 20 minutes start to finish for both sides. Although the passenger side wasn't leaking yet removal showed a partial clog in the elbow which could have caused problems later on down the road. I hope this helps a bit please let me know if you have any questions.

      regards,

      Matt





      Modified by saffron98 at 8:59 PM 7-30-2008


    2. #2

      Re: How-To:Sunroof drain repair (saffron98)

      Great write-up! On the early vehicles (don't remember chassis numbers) Volvo recommends trimming the end of the elbow - the plus-shaped end. This opens it up a bit and lets more water flow through and reduces debris build-up.

    3. #3

      Re: How-To:Sunroof drain repair (gus_dog)

      Great post! I'll test my drains this weekend.

      Tim


      2010 S80 V8 Savile Grey/Beige Ventilated Executive Sport Chassis (Lowered at the factory ) Nav Dynaudio Technology BLIS Volvo mud flaps Factory fridge for the Crystal
      2004 S80 2.5T AWD Auto Ice White/Off Black 17 inch Interceptors Premium Climate Touring HU-801 w/ Dynaudio

    4. #4

      Re: How-To:Sunroof drain repair (t6tim)

      Great post. How did you include the pictures? I plan to post the repair of the third seat seatbacks and would like to include photos.

      Norb Church


    5. #5

      Re: How-To:Sunroof drain repair (Norbert)

      i had water in my foot as well but my leak was from a different source (poorly installed windshield). there was about 1/8" to 1/4" of standing water above the carpet. the reason i reply though is a couple things.

      1) its a good thing it wasn't the passenger side. the yaw sensor is on the passenger side and can be damaged if water is in the foot well.

      hopefully there's not anything important under the driver's side.

      2) can't remember exactly how thick it was but there's quite a bit of insulation under the foot well carpet. which means if you had standing water, like i did, there is a lot of water in there. my carpet and insulation were completely replaced and my car sat with heater in it to dry out for a week. based on the thoroughness of your report im sure you accounted for this but if you didn't you should make sure to let your xc90 dry out properly. wouldn't want the moisture to sit and cause problems.

      in regards to it being covered under warranty...
      When i took mine in they told me that if the leak was caused due to a clogged sunroof drain then it was not covered under the warranty. Cleaning of sunroof drains is an owner maintenance item that is not checked when you bring your car in for routine maintenance. however a defective drain elbow would have been covered by warranty. since i had a bad windshield install the windshield shop covered the whole repair.


    6. #6

      Re: How-To:Sunroof drain repair (Norbert)

      I used http://www.photobucket.com, free sign up and easy link from this forum.
      http://www.photobucket.com

      by the way, great post, and needs this for future reference.


    7. #7

      Re: How-To:Sunroof drain repair (dutyfree)

      Evening everyone,

      Thanks for the positive feedback. Concerning the water under the carpet, I did unfortunately have a bit under my drivers side that I had to address. I actually was going to document the steps as well in the post if there is any interest.

      regards,

      Matt


    8. #8
      Junior Member obiwan's Avatar
      Join Date
      Apr 2003
      Location
      St Pete FL
      Posts
      884

      Re: How-To:Sunroof drain repair (saffron98)

      should this be a sticky in a thread such as: How to....
      2006 2.5T AWD XC90, 10/2005(current)::: 2006 2.5T AWD XC90, 9/2005(current)::: 2003 2.5T AWD XC90, 3/2003 (trade-in)

    9. #9

      Re: How-To:Sunroof drain repair (obiwan)

      great little write-up. Its sounds like such an easy job, you wont even be able to finsh a 6 pack of beer

    10. #10

      Re: How-To:Sunroof drain repair (saffron98)

      Excellent How to! I'll try it this weekend. If it ever quits raining!

    11. #11
      What would you recommend to pour in there to clear out sludge lining the tube?

      I used pipe-cleaners but they were not long enough to clear the entire tube.

      Also, what would I use to adhere the tube to the elbow and the elbow to the wall drain? I'm worried about a leak around the seal.


    12. #12
      Do you have to take apart the A pilllar? If you use some combination of vaccuum and air pressure can you suck/blow the gunk out? Also, 80 lb test fishing line snaked down the drain may help loosen things up. Thoughts?

    13. #13

      Re: How-To:Sunroof drain repair (saffron98)

      Yesterday I went to get in my '04 xc90 after it sitting in my driveway for about a week (it had rained) and stuck my foot into puddle of sopping wet carpet. I pulled up the mat and the carpet underneath was completely soaked. I didn't know what to think, and was in a hurry so I decided to deal with it later. I pulled out of my driveway and heard what sounded like a huge mop bucket's worth of water sloshing around. Uh-Oh. So I drive straight to my Volvo dealership (a place I'm all too familiar with) and talk to a service adviser. She seemed to know enough about what the problem might be to vaguely tell me what they would have to do to look for the problem. According to her, for $600 they would remove the driver seat and pull up the carpet and remove the trapped water, as well as dry out the carpets. 600 dollars. She explained that after about 6 inches worth of padding, there is a significant trough or space in the floor pan that water can collect. She didn't explain what could have caused it, but she didn't seem satisfied that I was sure I didn't have my windows down during the rain. I'm sure I didn't. Anyway, I got some vital info from her, and decided to call around to some local volvo repair shops and see what they might charge. One man, Bono, said that he had seen this problem before and it is the sunroof drain. I googled this and this forum popped up. I knew I was onto something. I drove to my parent's house and parked my car so the nose was pointed down the driveway and at an angle so the water would pool nearest the driver's side door (only problem on driver's side thank god). I popped the plastic off that held the mat in place and pulled carpet up as much as I could. I looked down to see about four inches of water. Using a 2x4 for leverage, I pried the carpet up as much as possible and used a shopvac to suck up as much water as I could. I estimate I poured about 3 gallons of water from the shop-vac (having to empty twice during the process). This did alleviate the first problem of sloshing water, but the carpets and 6 inches of foam couldn't possibly be salvaged because they were just full of water. I continued to apply pressure to the floor and suck through the foam a significant amount of water, but there was no way to get it anywhere near acceptable. Since I knew it was ruined, I decided I should just cut it out, and have new carpets installed (I figured by doing the removal labor myself, I'd atleast save money on that. My mom had a carpet ripper, and I looked for the best place to tear. My mom noticed that it would only be 2 small rips behind the bolts of the front seat to remove the whole carpet. It wouldn't even show if I managed to save the carpet. I said go for it and in about 30 seconds, she had the entire piece out of the car with only minimal cutting. I took the mat to a sidewalk and stood on it, squeezing a HUGE amount of water. Major success! I managed to tamp it dry enough that sunshine and fresh air might be sufficient to stave off the onset of mildew. I am guessing it will take about a week for the mat to dry completely. I am keeping in the sun, and will put a fan on it at night in the garage.

      This weekend, I am going to attempt to investigate and unclog the drains. I am a 24 year old girl, and I have managed to do the carpet repair myself and save $600. Thanks completely to your pictures, I will be able to fix the main problem myself, and save even more. This is so awesome, I can't even tell you how much I appreciate the pictures and very clear instructions/advice. Even if I run into a snag, having your pictures as a guide, I can easily have my dad help.


    14. #14

      Re: How-To:Sunroof drain repair (saffron98)

      Matt- Thanks for this excellent post. The instructions we clear and complete. Per another post I trimmed approximately 1/16 th of an inch off the end of the drain nipple to minimize the reoccurance of a clog. I also used a bicycle water bottle to pressure flush the drain hoses into a plastic container. The entire job took about 20 minutes as advertised.

      With the multitude of problems I have experienced with my 2003 XC90 T6, I can use all the help I can get to avoid the local Volvo dealer. I appreciate the help offered in this forum and look forward to sitting behind the wheel of Toyota or a Honda some day soon! Good luck to us all.


    15. #15

      Re: How-To:Sunroof drain repair (saffron98)

      The sad part of this is every XC 90,S40,V50 have this problem. Every time it rains here the next morning there is a line of people at my dealer with 50,000 dollar swiming pools. Volvo knows this and instead of standing behind there products and recall this they just sit back and let it happen. Volvo made the drains on these cars too small and they know it. The 850 S/V 70 do not have this problem because the drains are twice the size.

      There are times where we have so many cars filled with water we run out of places to hang carpet to dry. Walk into my shop after a weekend of hard rain and the shop looks more like a drycleaners shop than a auto repair shop.

      This is a safty issue especialy on the XC 90. The active yaw control sensor for the roll stability control in mounted under the audio amp under the passenger seat after the water is dried out the connector on this sensor corodes badly causing the sensor to not work. Leaving the car without its rollover system.

      There is not much help for this problem on the S40 and V50 the hole in the fire wall where the drains go through are also too small. I take the tubes out clean them out and reinstall knowing its only a matter of time before it happens again. Other than taking the dash out and cutting the holes bigger there is nothing that can be done


    16. #16

      Re: How-To:Sunroof drain repair (hardattack)

      Hardattack- I agree with you.

      Upon researching this problem I found a Volvo service bulletin on one of the forums which indicated that one of the problems caused by water being diverted into the cabin was a malfuntioning audio system due to electrical short. Well, guess what happened to my 2003 XC90 two years ago? I was told by the dealer that it would cost ~$1,100 replace and I told them to forget it. After raising hell, the dealer agreed to give me audio unit from a leased vehicle that was recently turned in, even though I was out of warranty. I payed for the labor to install it. Not a bad deal.

      Until I researched the sunroof drain problem I never connected the two problems together. My dealer has been pretty good about sharing some of the pain. I blame Volvo for a poor design and a vehicle that is plauged with problems. I've owned three Volvos. Never again. I told my kids that I would cut them out of my will if they buy one.


    17. #17

      Re: How-To:Sunroof drain repair (jantonucci)

      The dealer, The one I work for anyway, will usually try and do anything to help but we are at the mercy of volvo. They keep declining repairs like they dont need any customers.

      I try and pull apart clean and open the end up the drains on every one I do regular services to but I am doing this at my expense, and dont allways have the time. Volvo should be paying for this repair.


    18. #18
      Is the drain different on the S40? Anyone know? My water is at the feet of the back seat passengers, making me think it drains down the side, not the front like the pictures show of the XC90.

    19. #19

      Re: (Eagles_00)

      The drains on the S40 are similar but much harder to get to. You need to take the cowl panel off and the wiper assy out. You can then see the bottom of the drain with a mirror. The ends of the drain need to be cut to open them up also like the XC90. Then you need to remove both A piller trim panels and glue the ends of the hose back in to the bottom part of the hole. This is hard to explain with out pics. Next time I do a set I will take some pics.

    20. #20

      Re: (hardattack)

      Thanks. Sounds like I might be at the mercy of paying the dealer to do the work. Still I'd love to see the pics for when this happens again 2 years from now.

    21. #21

      Re: How-To:Sunroof drain repair (saffron98)

      You should clip off the corners! This is what is suggested by Volvo.

    22. #22
      like the above poster, i now have tons of water slushing around under my feet as i drive..any idea on how to get rid of it? can I drill a small hole from under the car and then replace hole with some sort of cork or rubber stopper??

    23. #23

      Re: (1slovolvo)

      The only way to remedy is pull out all the carpets (which are backed with foam). Otherwise it's like trying to dry out a sponge in a plastic bag. There's LOTS of wiring down there which doesn't need to stay wet, not to mention the smell.

    24. #24
      Thanks!! after FIVE years I was tired of the stink- I found this and saw that I had NO elbow! A straight connector and 3 inches of tube pushed down the hole..voila! $1.99 and 15 minutes!!!!

    25. #25
      Junior Member
      Join Date
      Jun 2009
      Location
      Winter: San Diego, Summer: Bondurant, WY
      Posts
      99

      Re: (matttheseagull)

      Kevin,

      Since you work at a Volvo dealership, what is your best estimate of the age of the vehicles brought in for sunroof drain repair? Obviously each vehicle is going to be different due to location, where parked, etc., but an average age would help those of us intending to do the quick PM outlined by Matt.

      Based on this thread I intend to clean the the drain, but am wondering how often would be a reasonable period. Don't want want water on the floor, but don't want to be taking it apart every six months either. I mean, if the vehicles seem to have the problem at four years - generally speaking - I'll clean the drain every three...and so on. What's your suggestion?


    26. #26

      Re: How-To:Sunroof drain repair (saffron98)

      I noticed in VADIS (Volvo's electronic workshop manual) that in addition to the two drains at the front of the sunroof there are also two drains at the rear. These drain through tubes that are routed down through the C-pillars (the body side metal just aft of the rear doors). Access to these is a bit more complicated than the front tubes. I only mention this because if you perform the repairs to the front elbows and still experience water pooling in the vehicle it may be because the rear drains are clogged.

      I have performed the elbow cleaning process on the front drains but have not tackled the rears.


    27. #27

      Re: How-To:Sunroof drain repair (canndale)

      Having same problems on my S40--Rear passenger floorboard and under drivers seat full of water. Do you think using a length of weed whacker trimmer string could be snaked through the sunroof drain to poke out blocking debris? I'm screwed if I have to have my dealer fix things. No offense to my dealer as they are really good , but I see my car beinng in the shop forever at a steep price if I can't fix this myself. Any thoughts would be most appreciated. FWIW, I just replaced the roof on my house for $7K because of leaks!!!

    28. #28

      Thumbs up

      Quote Originally Posted by saffron98 View Post
      Overall this was very simple and took maybe 20 minutes start to finish for both sides. Although the passenger side wasn't leaking yet removal showed a partial clog in the elbow which could have caused problems later on down the road. I hope this helps a bit ...
      Yes, it certainly did! Everything was EXACTLY as you said. Thank you so much!

    29. #29

      Quicker fix that MAY work

      Thanks for the post, as it helped me tremendously on my 2004 S80 with the exact problem; water in the drivers floorboard and to make matters worse, I found out about the water about 6 hours after it had rained so the headliner wasn't wet so I had no clue where the water had come from. ANYWAY...

      After seeing this post I cleaned with a towel the channels I saw that the tunnels were blocked. I took my compressor and hooked up the little pistol type detailing attachment, stuck it directly in the opening of the tunnels and blew it for about a minute. Then I poured about a gallon of water into the channel (slow enough that it didn't overflow but pretty fast, and voila, water was coming out the bottom and it drained the channel in about 10 seconds.

      I have now poured a quart of distilled vinegar ( i wouldn't recommend this, not because of a bad result, but hindsight was that this may damage the rubber or vinyl hose, but I was thinking it was good enough to clean my coffee pot so...) Now I have poured another gallon down the tunnels, and it is still draining quickly.

      Not sure if this is faster, but I didn't have to take off the A pillar, and I thought I would try the non-invasive route and it worked. Not sure if it will work on other models or for more severe blockage.

      Anyway, there it is. Proceed at your own risk.

      Best!
      Barney

    30. #30
      Junior Member
      Join Date
      Jan 2010
      Location
      Chanhassen, MN
      Posts
      184
      That works, but there is a plastic junction behind the A-pillar which joins two rubber drain hoses and is constructed with a "+" in the middle of the fitting. If that thing catches enough crud, I'd be concerned that the air pressure could either pop off or rupture the tubing. Since most debris would be coming from the top, perhaps blowing it out from the bottom drain would be safer.

    31. #31
      Junior Member obiwan's Avatar
      Join Date
      Apr 2003
      Location
      St Pete FL
      Posts
      884
      Quote Originally Posted by canndale View Post
      I noticed in VADIS (Volvo's electronic workshop manual) that in addition to the two drains at the front of the sunroof there are also two drains at the rear. These drain through tubes that are routed down through the C-pillars (the body side metal just aft of the rear doors). Access to these is a bit more complicated than the front tubes. I only mention this because if you perform the repairs to the front elbows and still experience water pooling in the vehicle it may be because the rear drains are clogged.

      I have performed the elbow cleaning process on the front drains but have not tackled the rears.

      Did you ever to the rear's ?
      Are there rear drains?
      2006 2.5T AWD XC90, 10/2005(current)::: 2006 2.5T AWD XC90, 9/2005(current)::: 2003 2.5T AWD XC90, 3/2003 (trade-in)

    32. #32
      Junior Member
      Join Date
      Nov 2010
      Location
      Toronto, Ontario
      Posts
      58
      I think mattheseagull route is an amazing idea, avoid the entire clogging issue by eliminating the elbow and routing the plastic tube into the hole. Even if the hose is pinched a little, there opening would definitely be greater that the (+) opening in the elbow.

      I have a 2010 and have yet to experience this issue. I just want to ensure that I never fall victim to a clogged drain.

    33. #33
      Thanks to all that have contributed to this thread, especially Matt! I have the exact same issue and thanks to the great info. in here, I managed to get the whole thing taken care of. I have not assembled everything yet as the carpets are still damp (they're in the garage now with a fan blowing on them). I too did not want to re-install a badly designed part (the 90 degree elbow). And I couldn't even if I wanted to as they were falling apart at the tip. In my case the clog has been there for at least a year and a half, which is when I purchased my used XC90 and started noticing water on the rubber carpets every now and then. I think it dripped from the side of the dashboard. Anyway, I went to Lowes and got 2 feet of vinyl tubing. I cut it and slid it into the existing drains and then into the hole, 1 foot per side. I also tested by pouring water in the sunroof channel and it drained in seconds. Tonight it might rain and it'll be a good test to verify the floor boards are dry before re-installing everything. I have created an album with a few photos. Tomorrow I'll add another one of the fix and I hope this will be the end of this problem!
      Last edited by dbaldacchino; 01-29-2011 at 07:21 PM.

    34. #34
      Junior Member obiwan's Avatar
      Join Date
      Apr 2003
      Location
      St Pete FL
      Posts
      884
      Quote Originally Posted by dbaldacchino View Post
      ix and I hope this will be the end of this problem!
      Do you have pics of the rear?
      2006 2.5T AWD XC90, 10/2005(current)::: 2006 2.5T AWD XC90, 9/2005(current)::: 2003 2.5T AWD XC90, 3/2003 (trade-in)

    35. #35
      Unfortunately no. I did not try tracing those as most of the posts I read out there always talk about the front ones. I recall one specific thread on another forum saying that the back drains never seem to have issues.

    Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast